Birthday Parties, Cesspits and 37 Degrees

9 Dec

I am typing this the morning after the day before, my memory is a little hazy, my head a little fragile and my camera not quite as loaded as I would have hoped. I remember having fun, lots of fun, maybe even too much fun. I remember singing Happy Birthday, badly and a little louder than everyone else and I remember looking at the empty bottles that had mysteriously accumulated around my chair and thinking that I would pay and I am. My decision to over indulge in alcohol and under indulge in food was not a wise one. But I did so with some justification, everything that could have gone wrong in the build up to the party did go wrong.

The long distance weather forecast generously suggested Saturday would be sunny and 30 degrees and I was a happy Dad, the next day it had gone up to 32 degrees, okay a little warm but that is surely what paddling pools and ice cream is for, the next day it was 35 degrees and the day before the party the meteorologists finally settled for a sweaty 37 degrees! Two words that no parent wants to have to entertain on the day of a carefully choreographed party is “venue change”. The beautiful gardens we had booked were substituted for the relative comfort of our air conditioned home. Text messages were furiously sent, sent, sent as Phase 1 of Operation Venue Change got underway. The safari theme we had opted for was rapidly ditched for a chaos theme.

As we busied ourselves making jellies, icy poles and fruit salads I kept noticing a foul smell wafting its way in and around my nostrils, I presumed at first that Mrs Under might have accidently broken wind (because I know that women never intentionally do so) but it was worse than anything Mrs Under has previously managed. I followed my nose out of the door, through the garden and straight to the offending, blocked, overflowing, cesspit! The cesspit is the bane of our lives and prone to malfunction, but really did it have to choose today of all days, toddlers party, raw sewage and 37 degrees is about as bad a combination as you could possibly dream up.

A reassuringly sympathetic plumber set about doing the undignified deed, I was slightly surprised by his decision to do so without gloves but who am I to pooh pooh his work (sorry)? It was all too much for me I excused myself and went off in search of caffeine, one latte, became two, became, three, became four and I became a juddering wreck of a Dad. I power walked my way home, relieved to see a fully functional cesspit I chose to ignore the plumbers attempt to shake hands on a good job well done. Mrs Under turns up with a fistful of joss sticks and places them in and around the cesspit like some sort of bizarre offering to the cesspit Gods. I seek solace from the ice cold, refreshing, instantly calming Beer Gods.IMG_3605

I’m not sure exactly how many times I went to the supermarket that morning but I think I got into double figures. Things however seemed to be back on track and I manage to envisage the dream toddler party again, then I get a text, at this point I have subscribed to the no news is good news approach and I nervously read the text only to discover Max’s bestie, his brother from another mother, is sick and can’t make it! WTF! Why me, why today, why, why, whhhhhhhhhy! I might have said that bit out loud.

It’s now noon and kick off is at 3pm, Max seems to have picked up on the anxiety, the sweating, pale faced, shadow of a man that used to be his Dad is transmitting. A child known for his ability to sleep fast, hard and long, decides that today of all days he will instead sit in bed and go through his entire vocabulary one by one over and over “car, bus, bike, boat, digger, daddybeer (why can you not say yes, please or ta but you can say that?!?!) After 2 hours of begging and pleading Max complies, a power nap it is then.

Despite (insert preferred God) throwing all sorts of shit at us and to my amazement, at 2:59pm just as the first eager party goer rocks up I look around the house and we had pulled it off. Balloons were flapping in the wind, bunting was elegantly draped, the paddling pool was giving me come hither looks, tasty treats were lined up in position wearing a come and eat me expression and the house had been rid of fluff, dirt and grime by a Mum on a mission. It was looking like a text book toddler party all it needed was lots of over excited toddlers running around trying to work out why the gates to Sugarland have been flung open and why one child is having all manner of toys bestowed at his feet. IMG_3598

At this point my work was done, it was time to kick back and enjoy 2 years of parenting, a happy smiley boy, a fully functional marriage, lots of wonderful friends coming together – I surely deserve a beer? My sensible voice said to eat some food and drink plenty of water first, but my party voice told it to get stuffed. I drank and chatted with the other Dads and then I drank and chatted with the Mums and then I drank and chatted to the toddlers and then I drank and chatted to myself. I would like to thank whoever looked after my son all day keeping him fed and watered, I would also like to thank the water fairies that always seem to put a glass of water at the side of my bed for such occasional, occasions.

Today it’s been nice catching up with Max and seeing how his party went, as he lines up his new acquisitions in some sort of hierarchy, boats, cars, trucks, diggers, tools and denim – a total little man package. I am less than thrilled with the ambulance that comes with flashing lights and 5 sirens, all loud and all non-hangover friendly. I check the camera for photos and have pre carnage and post carnage with not much in between. After making the same mistake two years running I am thinking of having his next party at a monastery with a nun and priest theme? Today I raise a Barocca infused glass of water to you Max Ross, you are shaping up to be a wonderful little boy.   IMG_3626

Sharing my blogging Tuesday with Jess over at essentiallyjess for #IBOT


42 Responses to “Birthday Parties, Cesspits and 37 Degrees”

  1. Catherine Rodie Blagg December 9, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    This really made me laugh out loud! We had G’s party today and our house was chaos this morning! Totally relate. Happy birthday Max! xx

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      Thanks Catherine, stressful things kids parties!

  2. BabyMacBeth December 9, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Atmospheric party shots of food and booze, a hangover AND heartfelt words…is there any wonder I like you Matthew?! Happy Birthday Max!! x

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Thanks Beth, I had you at hangover didn’t I? Have a thoroughly Merry Christmas and thanks for all your help and advice.

  3. mumabulous December 9, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    P1 has hosted enormous birthday shindigs at Chez Abulous two years running, Her 4th Birthday was an underwater themed extravaganza and the 5th Birthday was “Princesses and Princes”. What the hell was I thinking? Next year we are outsourcing.

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Outsourcing is the key to many a parenting dilemma : ) Underwater theme sounds brave

  4. Wendy December 9, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    where is the obligatory cake pic with the candles? sounds like they all had fun 🙂

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      There are a lot of missing moments from both camera and brain I’m afraid Wendy

  5. Nikki Parkinson (@StylingYou) December 9, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Bahhahahaha! Still think you needed hot chips today. Happy birthday day to Mr and Mrs Under!

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      Could you send some over Nikki? Pleeeeaaaassse!

  6. Julie December 9, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    At least you got photos. We had Jarvis’s first birthday party last weekend… you would think with a Dad who is a photographer and me who follows both of my children around with a camera, that we would get photos of our child’s first birthday party. But the answer is no. We have been reduced to checking all of the guests smart phones. Only shot of me is my boob breast feeding. Only photos of Jarvis.. he was wearing clothes at the start of the afternoon…is a naked carefree one year old eating sand..

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      The naked sand eating ones are my favourites

  7. Vicky Finch (@Vicfinch) December 9, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Love your work…nice to know that dads get anxious about parties too.

  8. Roxanne P-CH December 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    This post cracked me up. Birthday number 1 coming up for our Little. Should be a fun stress free event I imagine!

    • daddownunder December 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      I hope so for your sanity Roxanne. Gld you enjoyed it ; )

  9. coloursofsunset December 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me why we have our son’s parties at the play centre! They organise everything, and it also makes it difficult to have a hangover. Still, well done to you! And I’m sure by “the water fairies” you mean “my lovely wife”!

    • daddownunder December 11, 2012 at 1:33 am #

      Yes my lovely wife is the water fairy and various other fairies from time to time.

  10. melbournemum1 December 10, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Awww, love it, DdU – we should get Inky and Max together. They can rip up the town together as only 2 year olds can. Sounds like you deserved that beer(s)(ss)(sss)(ssss)! Kx

    • daddownunder December 11, 2012 at 1:37 am #

      I’m afraid there were lots of s’s on the end of beer MM. Inky and Max would make a great team and if it happened on a friday we could sit back and sample your back catalogue of cocktails ; )

      • melbournemum1 December 11, 2012 at 9:52 am #

        You’re a thinking man. Love it.

  11. Vic @ The Melbourne Dad December 10, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    James Squire Pale Ale… fine choice of beer!

  12. Emily Harms December 10, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Happy belated birthday Max! Looks like baby George ain’t getting a 2nd birthday party….hope to catch up with you guys one of these days soon. em x

    • daddownunder December 11, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      George’s loss is your gain Emily ; ) Thanks or stopping by, I’m sure we’ll catch up soon. Have an awesome Crimbo!

  13. Yvette @ Little Bento Blog December 11, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Birthday parties always end up being so stressful… we skipped a party for my 3yr old this year because our 1 yr olds party was a flop… everyone had the flu and so we just couldn’t be bothered this time around!!

    Maybe when they are older.. 🙂


  14. Emily December 11, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    You can certainly tell a story! I felt every moment of your stress, pain, and even that fleeting moment of joy when it had all come together before the alcohol joined in on the party! Glad Max had a good time.

    • daddownunder December 11, 2012 at 2:48 am #

      Thanks Emily. The emotions were still raw ; )

  15. always josefa (@always_josefa) December 11, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    just brilliant!
    birthday parties will either make or break you – glad to see you survived!

    • daddownunder December 11, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      I barely survived Josefa, the next day was all about survival

  16. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions December 11, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Yep, Mia’s first birthday part a few weeks ago sounds a little like this, just minus the cesspit and venue change. Unfortunately there was no way our house would accomodate the 40 friends and family that showed up so we had to press on with the party in the park and 38 degree weather! Was still a good day though, despite having to run around like a headless chook for the 3 hours before the party getting everything done.

    And I know that cesspit smell too well and am glad we didn’t have to deal with that!

    • daddownunder December 12, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      Headless chook syndrome seems to be unavoidable unfortunately. Glad it was a good one!

  17. Desire Empire December 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    So funny. I have that problem too of drinking too much and forgetting to photograph the in between bits. Sharing this one to FB. Love it

    • daddownunder December 14, 2012 at 2:57 am #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and double thaks for the share!

  18. Declutterbug December 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Oh Hi, I have seen your name floating around the blogosphere lately and I am glad you were in my ‘power of four’ row on FYBF because I have been meaning to find you, sounds like a very exciting party, looks like you totally rocked the toddler party scene! Well done

    • daddownunder December 14, 2012 at 2:53 am #

      I’m glad you found me too! Are your Declutterbug or Captain Stingy Pants?

      • Declutterbug December 14, 2012 at 3:26 am #

        I am the Declutterbug 🙂

  19. Mandie December 14, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    Ahhh, that made me laugh (not at you, with you… well, maybe at you but just a little…) Don’t worry, I only got one photo of my daughter’s 3rd birthday party – and it wasn’t even of her (it was of the cat with a balloon tied to her collar, just in case you were wondering). I hope your cesspit has been behaving over the recent spate of hotter weather this week!

    • daddownunder December 14, 2012 at 2:56 am #

      Hey Mandie, thanks for dropping by. At me, with me, I’ll take it any which way ; ) Cesspit is fully functional thank you.

  20. Cherie (@raisingmax) December 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm #


    Happy birthday Max! I have a Max too, & he turned 2 on December 3rd, & yep, his party was a disaster (in that everything that could go wrong, went wrong), but … he flipping LOVED it! & that’s all that matters 🙂

    Congrats on your top 50 Dad blog nod, well deserved!

    Cherie Anne (on Facebook), otherwise I blog at

    • daddownunder December 20, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      THE Cherie Anne whose been saying such nice things? I am led to believe he loved the party and your right thats all that counts. I will be sure to reciprocate the blog love. Merry Christmas!

  21. Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye December 20, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Cesspit and almost poo hand shake aside, it looked like a good day 🙂

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